HPD Tries to Attract Forensic Grads

Criminal justice students at the University of North Texas are the recipients of a forensic microscope. The equipment is a gift from the Houston Police Department Crime Lab. As Houston Public Radio's Laurie Johnson reports, HPD is hoping such gifts will encourage students to consider the Houston Crime Lab as a future career choice.

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The Houston Police Department has been upgrading equipment in the Crime Lab for months now. So HPD Crime Lab Director Irma Rios says they're handing off some of their older equipment to college classrooms.

"It's very important in the type of work that we do, it's very serious and we want well-trained individuals. And if we can partner up with the universities it's significant for us. We have a leg up with the individuals, they're coming up already trained or have some kind of training, so it is very important in that respect."

University of North Texas Professor Dr. Robert Taylor chairs the school's Department of Criminal Justice. He says they have about 100 students in their criminalist program who will use the forensic microscope.

"Basically it's a microscope which can compare a known to an unknown. And so if you're looking at comparing, for instance, bullets that are shot from two different guns or from the same gun but you have two bullets, you would put your known on one side and your sample on the other side and then you'd be able to compare to determine whether or not they were fired from the same weapon."

Taylor says they'll use the microscope for some of their more advanced graduate work. And he adds, they'll hope to send some of those graduates to the Houston Police Department Crime Lab. Laurie Johnson, Houston Public Radio News.

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